Friday, 4 May 2018

Caught in the Theranos Wreckage: Betsy DeVos,

Theranos Wreckage
Caught within the Theranos Wreckage: Betsy DeVos, Murdoch, and Walmart’s Waltons

Even a number of the world’s richest people may get duped, consistent with newly unsealed documents during a lawsuit filed on behalf of investors within the failing blood-testing company Theranos.

High-profile investors who collectively lost many many dollars included Walmart’s Walton family, the media mogul Murdoch, also as Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education, and her relatives.

The list of investors, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, came to light as a part of a class-action lawsuit brought in 2016 by Robert Colman, a retired Silicon Valley underwriter, who claims that Theranos misled investors about its business and technology.
Elizabeth Holmes
Theranos, founded by Elizabeth Holmes when she was a 19-year-old Stanford University dropout promised to revolutionize the lab industry employing a few drops of blood from an easy finger-prick to seem for everything from diabetes to cancer, at a fraction of the value of a standard biopsy.

The company became a Silicon Valley fairy tale, with investors awarding the privately held company a valuation of around $9 billion.

But the story began to unravel in October 2015 after The Wall Street Journal, owned by Mr. Murdoch’s News Corp., began questioning whether the tests worked.

Theranos became the topic of federal investigations into its testing and claims of proprietary technology, which was called “nanotainers.”

Much of the time the corporate had to resort to using conventional blood testing methods, unable to urge federal approval for any test but one for Herpes.

Theranos and its founder also became embroiled during a series of lawsuits, involving investors also together of its key partners, Walgreens, an outsized drugstore chain, where it offered its tests.

The company reached a settlement with Walgreens last August.

In March, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Ms.

Holmes with fraud, accusing her of exaggerating and lying about her technology to draw in investors.

As a part of the S.E.C. action, Ms. Holmes agreed to pay $500,000, hand over control of her company and is barred from serving as a politician or director of any public company for 10 years.

She and Theranos didn't admit nor deny the allegations.

Theranos still faces the class-action lawsuit, and should still be subject to a criminal an investigation by us attorney in San Francisco.

The company’s future is unclear.

The company didn't answer requests for comment.

Theranos had always boasted a star-studded list of investors and directors — its board included the previous secretaries of state George P. Shultz and Henry A.

Kissinger, two former us senators, and Gen. Jim Mattis, the present secretary of defense.

But while some high-profile investors’ links to Theranos had been previously known, the new documents provide an in-depth list of monetary amounts.

The Walton family invested about $150 million in 2014 through two separate entities, consistent with the investor list.

Mr. Murdoch put in about $125 million, and therefore the relatives of Ms. DeVos invested about $100 million.

“It’s obvious that they're highly disappointed in them as a corporation and as an investment,” said Greg McNeilly, the chief operating officer of The Windquest Group, the company of Ms. DeVos and her husband.

Mr. McNeilly said the $100 million was a joint investment across multiple generations and branches of her family and described the share held by Ms. DeVos and her husband as “minor.”

Other prominent investors, consistent with the list, included the Cox family; the Atlanta billionaires who own the media conglomerate Cox Enterprises and who invested $100 million, and a corporation affiliated with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim that put in about $30 million.

Robert K. Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, invested $1 million.

Representatives for Mr. Kraft, the Walton family, Cox Enterprises, and News Corp. declined to comment.

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